Tuesday, December 26, 2017

BIG CAT, LITTLE CAT by Elisha Cooper. New York:  Roaring Book Press, 2017.  32p.  ISBN 9781-62672371-9 hc. $16.99.   PreS - Gr. 2    E PIC

A big white cat was a happy to be the only housepet, until the day a little black cat arrived.  The big cat showed the little cat how to do activities around the house and, as the little cat grew, they became best friends.  As the years went by, the old white cat passed away.  Cooper gently phrases the passing of the white cat, the loneliness of the black cat, and the introduction of a new pet into the home.  The simplicity of this book is deceptive.  Well chosen words combined with black & white drawings pave the way for a story rich in emotion and a pattern of events that can apply to more than just cats.  The life cycle has never been told with such clarity and compassion.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

ORPHAN ISLAND by Laurel Snyder.  New York: Walden Pond Press, 2017.  269p.  ISBN 978-006244341-0 hc. $16.99.    Gr. 5-8    J FIC

The weather is always perfect on Orphan Island.  There's always food for all nine of them, and everyone helps with the chores.  It's a microcosm of content.  But when Jinny's friend, Deen, leaves the island in the green boat that arrives once a year to collect the oldest child on the island, she's not ready to give him up and become the elder.  The boat also brings a youngster to replace the oldest, who becomes the "care" of the elder.  Ess arrived this year, and it is Jinny's job to teach her how the island works.  She also has a mystery to solve about the first person on the island who left notes in the books that are read by the campfire each night.  When the boat arrives for Jinny a year later, she's not ready to leave Ess or face the uncertainty of where the boat will take her.  However, there's a price to pay when the rules are broken.  Even though the story is filled with symbolism about how it feels to leave childhood behind, there could have bene more about "Abbie," the first girl on the island, or a continuation of Jinny's entry into adolescence (in my opinion.)  This book begs for a sequel
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

A FAMILY IS A FAMILY IS A FAMILY by Sara O'Leary.  Illus. by Qin Leng.  Toronto, Canada: Groundhog Books, 2016.  32p.  ISBN 978-155498794-8 hc. $17.95     Gr. K-2   E PIC

When one classroom was asked to tell about their own families, the results varied from families with lots of children to one child with step-parents, single parents and lots of grandparents.  Some families had two moms or dads, while others had two parents living in separate homes.  Some families included disabled parents, grandparents, foster children, and cousins.  All were different, but "a family is a family...is a family."  O'Leary's accepting tone makes everyone comfortable with differences in family structure, which is a joy to read.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

PENGUIN'S CHRISTMAS WISH by Salina Yoon. Bloomsbury, NY: Bloomsbury USA Childrens, 2016.
ISBN: 9781681191553 hc. $14.99      PreS-Gr.2     E PIC
Sometimes, a simple wish to share time with friends is the best Christmas present one can receive.
Penguin is back for another adventure in the North Pole. His friend, Pumpkin, is sad because pine trees
cannot grow there, and he is hoping for a Christmas tree. Penguin has an idea; he 
gathers decorations and
friends as he leads them to a forest. A windstorm threatens to blow away 
the spirit of Christmas, but the
magic of the season has a surprise in store for Penguin. The 
story is told in simple third person with large,
easy to read text. The bright, bold, colorful 
illustrations pop with appeal, especially the unique aerial views.
The Christmas spirit is alive 
and well without any hint of commercialization or complication in the plot.
Emily Cummings, Children's Specialist, Dickinson County Library

Friday, December 1, 2017

YOU CAN FLY:  The Tuskegee Airmen by Carole Boston Weatherford. Illus. by Jeffery Weatherford.  New York: Athenum Books for Young Readers, 2017. 96p. ISBN 978-1481449380 hc. $16.99    Gr. 4-8     JNF (811.6)
Told from the perspective of a young black recruit who took part in a pilot training program at Tuskegee Institute at the beginning of World War II, these historical poems imply much more than they say about inequality between blacks and whites.  Weatherford chooses her words well.  “Some days, you look heavenwards, sensing that it might be easier to defy gravity than Jim Crow,” referring to Jim Crow laws that denied blacks the same freedoms enjoyed by whites.  In addition to poems about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and descriptions of dogfights with Nazi pilots, several poems chronicle efforts by singer, Lena Horne, boxer Joe Louis, and attorney William Henry Hastie to further the rights of blacks through their celebrity status.  A timeline at the back of the book follows the progression of equal rights from the Civil War to 2007, when the Tuskegee Airmen finally received their long overdue Congressional Medals of Honor at the White House.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

WET CEMENT: A Mix of Concrete Poems by Bob Raczka.  New York: Roaring Book Press, 2016. 45p. ISBN: 978-1626722361 hc. $17.99.     Gr. 2-4     J 811

Raczka describes concrete poems as word paintings or shape poems.  His poems becomes a work of art, as well as a precise combination of words used to convey an idea.  Enjoy 21 poems which include orbiting in a circle around the sun, erasing mistakes with a pencil made of words, and reading icicles hanging from the top of the page.  The last poem is titled, "PoeTRY," encouraging readers to try their own hand at creating concrete poems.  Combine this book with Raczka's "Lemonade: and Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word" (2013) to provide simple and interesting models for writing poetry individually or as a group.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI  49855

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

WATER IS WATER by Miranda Paul. Illus. by Jason Chin.  New York: Roaring Book Press, 2016.  32p.  ISBN 978-159643984-9 hc. $17.99      Gr. K-1     JNF 551.48

The water cycle is explained in simple text and illustrated with kids using water while they participate in everyday activities.  The text rhymes as water becomes steam, evaporates into the form of clouds, fog, and rain.  As the weather turns cold, water takes on the solid shapes of snow and ice.  The playful illustrations by Jason Chin are emphasized by softer watercolor backgrounds, as children find ways to enjoy the water cycle in each kind of weather.  The information pages at the back of the book summarizes the water cycle, highlighting scientific vocabulary and recommending some other books on the use and re-use of water.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Friday, November 17, 2017

SEVEN AND A HALF TONS OF STEEL by Janet Nolan.  Illus. by Thomas Gonzalez.  Atlanta: Peachtree Publishers, 2016.  32p.  ISBN 978-156145-912-4 hc. $17.95    Gr. 1-4    JNF 623.825

Illustrations begin to tell the story of a plane flying into a skyscraper before the written narration takes over.  Loss of life from September 11, 2001 is gently acknowledged, but the real focus of the book is the rebuilding process that began with one steel girder from the World Trade Center in New York City, weighing in at seven and a half tons.  It was shipped to New Orleans in Louisiana, melted down, and re-shaped into the bow of a ship named the USS New York.  Work on the ship was delayed by several years because of damage done to the New Orleans shipyards by Hurricane Katrina. Finally, in 2009, this warship was complete and commissioned by the U.S. Navy.  To this day, the USS New York is led by the seven and a half tons of steel in its bow that came from Ground Zero, and sails in memory of the people who died on 9/11. 
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

LEAP! by JonArno Lawson. Illus. by Josee Bisaillon.  Ontario, Canada: Kids Can Press, 2017.  ISBN 978-177138-6784 hc. $16.99     Gr. K-2    E PIC

"A flea asleep
in the deep green moss
nettled by midges
wakes up cross -" and leaps into the path of a grasshopper, who leaps onto a rabbit, who startles a dog, who leaps into the lake scaring fish, who leap out of the water next to a frog, who leaps from his lilypad and keeps things in motion.  This cause-and-effect story could go on and on, if readers want to continue the story on their own.  The illustrations are fluid, as the characters move from page to page, showing off the beautiful scenery in each new location.  The poetry is written in an irregular meter that forms paragraphs and includes unusual rhymes that introduce new vocabulary.  Teachers may want to use LEAP as a "jumping-off" point for creative writing or as a read-aloud for fun.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

WITCH WARS by Sibeal Pounder.  Illus. by Laura Ellen Anderson. New York: Bloomsbury, 2017.  265p.  ISBN: 978619639256 hc.  $16.99    Gr. 3-6    J FIC

If you've ever wondered why a witch's hat has a point or why they have warts, the answers can be found in "Witch Wars" by Sibeal Pounder.  Tiga Wicabim is a 9 year-old orphan living with the mean Miss Heks when Fran the Fabulous Fairy pops out of the sink and offers her an escape.  Fran informs Tiga that she is a witch! The proof is in her name: Tiga Wicabmim is an anagram for I AM A BIG WITCH.  Tiga travels down the drainpipe to Sinkville and is immediately thrust into the Witch Wars, a competition of nine witches, all 9 years old. Tiga faces tough choices and tricky riddles as she makes new friends and fights to become the Top Witch.  Tiga is smart, loyal, and determined, even as the underdog.  Anderson's gray-scale illustrations complement the all black and white world of Sinkville perfectly.  This series launch is sure to please 8-12 year-old girls who enjoy a little magic, fairy dust, and adventure. 
Megan Buck, Director, Dickinson County Library, Iron Mountain, MI

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A PIG, A FOX, AND STINKY SOCKS by Jonathan Fenske.  New York:  Penguin Young Readers, 2017.  32p.  ISBN 978-051515781-9 hc. $14.99.  Gr. K-1   E READER

This three-part story introduces Fox and Pig and proceeds to reveal their personalities.  Fox is a trickster and Pig is the target of those tricks.  However, by the end of the book, the joke's on Fox.  The action flows from block to block, like a comic book, making each character the focus of the story without background clutter.  The conversation, in speech bubbles is simple, and it rhymes.  Echoes of Dr. Seuss and Mo Willems, including elements of fun, make this book perfect for beginning readers.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

SIX DOTS: A Story of Young Louis Braille by Jen Bryant.  Illus. by Boris Kulikov.  New York:  Alfred A. Knopf, 2017. 32p.  ISBN 978-044981337-9 hc. $17.99     Gr. 2-5     E PIC

Based on the true story of Louis Braille, Bryant tells the story of a normal, curious boy who injured his eye with an awl from his father's workshop.  The eye became infected and spread to the other eye, blinding Louis.  As much as he tried to use his other senses, he wanted to read and write, just like everyone else.  At a school for the blind in Paris, Louis was introduced to a coding machine that used raised dots to make letters on paper, resulting in secret codes for the battlefield.  He worked for years, refining the code to make each letter of the alphabet fit into a matrix of six dots, which is named "Braille" and used universally by those who have lost their vision.  References and biographical information can be found in the back of the book.  Kulikov's illustrations are most impressive, but my favorite is a graphic of the Braille Alphabet on each end page.  SIX DOTS won the Schneider Family Book Award in January, 2017.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

BALDERDASH! by Michelle Markel. Illus. by Nancy Carpenter.  San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books, 2017.  32p.  ISBN 978-081187922-4 hc. $17.99    Gr. K-3   E PIC

Most avid readers of children's books have heard about the Newbery Medal, awarded annually by the American Library Association.  But, how many know about John Newbery's lifelong passion for stories?  Adults had volumes of books - why not offer books for children? Newbery became a printer and revolutionized the publishing business with numerous books for children.  And that's why educators and librarians remember him to this day.  The information is biographical in nature.  The illustrations add an element of humor with full pages of people in period dress doing what people in England did in the 1700's, plus a little more.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

BORIS AND THE WORRISOME WAKIES by Helen Lester. Illus. by Lynn
Munsinger.  New York: HMH Books for Young Readers, 2017. 32p. ISBN:
978-0544640948 hc.   PreS-K      E PIC

Boris the Badger had a million reasons for not being able to sleep during the day
(remember,  badgers are nocturnal). His worries were keeping him awake. After
hearing from his classmates about all the things he was missing in school because
he was sleepy, he decided to banish the worries and get a good days sleep so he
could resume activities with his friends. Boris demonstrates good problem-solving
skills and a willingness to work on the solution.
Kate, Board Member of the Les Cheneaux Community Library

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

POPTROPICA: THE SECRET SOCIETY by Mitch Krpata. Illus. by Kory
Merritt. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2017. 112p. ISBN: 9781419723117 hc.
$9.95 Gr. 1-4 Graphic Novel

Action! Mystery! Humor! Adventure! This is a graphic novel that kids will have
a difficult time putting down. The bright use of color on the glossy pages is
appealing and expressive. There are multiple cells per page, and the images do
not become lost or overwhelming for the reader. The story is divided into short
chapters and depict a  humorous, action-packed science fiction adventure. The
main characters (Mya, Oliver, and Jorge) are diverse and well-developed as they
try to stop
misguided villain Octavian from hijacking time travel and changing
history. The quick synopsis of
where the series left off, as well as character chart,
helps the reader to get ready for this next installment. POPTROPRICA is indeed
an exciting "rest stop on the highway of history!"
Emily Cummings, Children's Specialist, Dickinson County Library

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

 CAPTAIN MONTY TAKES THE PLUNGE. by Jennifer Mook-Sang.  Illus. by Liz Starin. Canada:  Kids Can Press, 2017.  32p.ISBN: 978-1-77138-626-5  hc.       PreS-K     E PIC
Captain Monty was a fearsome brave pirate with a secret.....he couldn't swim and wouldn't bathe. Because of not taking a bath, his true love, a mermaid, turned him away because he smelled bad. One day Meg the Mermaid was captured by an octopus, Captain Monty pushed through his fear and jumped into the water to save Meg. Meg was saved, Monte learned to swim and take a bath, and all lived happily ever after.
Board Member, Les Cheneaux Community Library

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

SAMSON IN THE SNOW by Philip C. Stead. New York: Roaring Brook Press, 2016.  ISBN 978-162672-1821 hc. $17.99     K-3     E PIC

Samson, who appears to be a wooly mammoth, will remind readers of "Thudwick the Thick-Hearted Moose" with his ability to plod on through adversity and help others at the same time.  Samson's story begins in a field of flowers where he meets a new friend - a small red bird who then takes to the air and disappears.  The small red bird may be out of sight but not out of mind, as a snowstorm moves in and covers the ground with  cold, wet snow.  Samson worries if the bird will be warm enough.  He soon meets a mouse also looking for his friend in the storm.  Together, they find mouse's friend, who just happens to be the small red bird.  The trio of friends find shelter and tell stories to each other until the sun shines once again.  Stead's story of friendship is illustrated with oil pastels that fill up each page with snowstorm blue, dandelion yellow and cardinal red.  Snowflakes tell the journey of the small red bird without a single word.  Reader's will notice their mood changing as the colors move from warm and bright to cold and stormy and back again.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

CREATIVE PROJECTS WITH RASPBERRY PI by Kirsten Kearney and Will Freeman.  New York, Abrams Image, 2017.  ISBN 978-14197-25005 hc. $24.99     Gr. 5+     J 004.165    

The fields of Computer Science and Engineering were rejuvenated in 2012 by the introduction of Raspberry Pi programming language, which promoted hand-on technology projects in elementary schools, middle schools and high schools.  Research showed that the art of programming grew in popularity when real life projects were used to illustrate the relationship between machinery and computer code.  This book includes the history of Raspberry Pi coding language, as well as 35 projects for students to construct and program. The clearly marked chapters and textbook layout, along with easy-to-follow instructions for each project, make this a must-read for young techies.  The projects range from simple to complex.  Since there's quite a bit of equipment required for each project, an adult's assistance would be recommended for anyone younger that 12.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

MR. CRUM'S POTATO PREDICAMENT by Anne Renaud.  Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, Ltd. 2017.  ISBN 978-1771386197 hc. $17.99     Gr. 1-3    E PIC

Renaud spins an engaging story about George Crum, a ninteenth century chef who is sometimes credited with inventing the potato chip.  As the story goes, George was one of the best cooks in upstate New York.  His restaurant was always full.  One day a very fussy customer had "a hankering for a heaping helping of potatoes."  George set out a plate of his best fried potatoes, but the customer kept sending them back, wanting them thinner and more flavorful.  Finally, George added lots of salt and sliced the potatoes so thin that they cracked when poked with a fork.  At last, the particular potato-eating customer was satisfied, and potato chips became a delicacy for all customers of Crum's Place.  There's an Author's Note about the history of the real George Crum and a list of sources for anyone interested in further research. 
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

WARCROSS by Marie Lu. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2017.  368p. ISBN: 978-0399547966 hc. $18.99    Gr. 9-12    YA FIC

In a futuristic New York City, 18 year-old Emika Chen lives on Ramen noodles and her passion for Warcross, a video game that builds virtual worlds by accessing player memories, along with it's 21 year-old creator, Hideo Tanaka.  Emika is a bounty hunter who doesn't earn enough money to keep a paid-up gaming account, but she possesses extraordinary gaming skills enabling her to hack into the Warcross worldwide tournament.  As she hacks into the game, a computer glitch reveals Emika's identity to the world.  Luckily, Hideo Tanaka offers her a job instead of charging her with a crime.   He gives her an undercover position on one of the Warcross tournament teams to find a dangerous hacker called Zero.  Emika is immersed in the action-packed virtual world of Warcross, while getting to know the other players on her team and forming a romantic connection to Hideo.  Marie Lu keeps YA readers engaged with action, romance, and moral dilemmas up to the very last page.  And...good news...there's plenty of room in this complex story for a sequel.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

AND THE ROBOT WENT... by Michelle Robinson. Illus. by Sergio Ruzzier.  New York:  Clarion Books, 2017.  ISBN 978-054458652-9 hc. $16.99     Gr. K-1     E PIC

Robinson combines a cumulative story with catchy rhymes to create an adventure for young readers.  It begins with "A Nosy Fox looked in the box," and continues on with an Eager Beaver, a Bear in a Blazer, and a Blue Gnu who all interact with the contents of the box - a robot.  Various mechanical noises emit from the robot after each character tries to fix it, until the persistent group produces a restored, fully functional robot.  Educators may want to use these unusual rhymes and varied verbs as examples for writing workshop.  Sergio Ruzzier consistently illustrates the series of characters in order to help with storyline, and adds fun details, such as fuzzy green slippers juxtaposed to the metal surface of the robot.  This structured story has a surprise ending you won't want to miss!
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI  49855

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

THE ENEMY by Sara Holbrook.  Honesdale, PA:  Calkins Creek Books, 2017.  255p.  ISBN 978-1629794983 hc. $17.95    Gr. 5-8    JUV FIC

The cold war between the U.S. and Russia was at its peak in 1954, as evidenced by air raid drills at school, war veterans in almost every family, German families suspected of having ties with Nazis, and a constant fear of Communist spies.  This was Marjorie Campbell's world when a new student, named Inga, showed up in her sixth grade classroom one day.  All the girls, especially the very popular Bernadette, voiced their suspicions about Inga.  If she moved to the U.S. from Canada, why did she speak German instead of English?  Marjorie's natural curiosity about Inga, along with her parents' support of Inga's family, help her stand up to Bernadette and demand fair treatment for all the girls in class, regardless of ethnicity or religion.  There are a lot of moving parts in this story, including a slam book, foster care, the post-war auto industry in Detroit, and post traumatic stress disorder - which was undiagnosed in soldiers at the time.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

SEVEN RULES YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST NOT BREAK IF YOU WANT TO SURVIVE THE CAFETERIA by John Grandits.  Ilus. by Michael allen Austin.  New York:  Clarion Books, 2017.  32p.  ISBN: 978-05446951-9 hc, $16.99     Gr. K-3      E PIC

On the very first day that Kyle decided to buy his lunch from the cafeteria, he was trapped on the bus listening to his friend Ginny's seven rules of eating in the cafeteria.  He didn't like to break rules, so he listened carefully.  Then, during lunch, he broke every rule.  He held up the line, took too many food items, didn't know how to pay, dropped his tray, couldn't find where his friends were sitting, and got in trouble with the lunch lady.  After that, Kyle decided not to listen to Ginny and made his own rules about how to "survive the cafeteria."  Not only is this sequential story an adventure,  it's illustrations feature very expressive faces and body language on the characters. Austin also adds a new element to the story by turning  Kyle into a kid who loves insects and can always be found with his bug book.  Ginny is drawn as a cricket because of her constant chattering on the bus, classmates become ants in line marching to the cafeteria, and Kyle turns into a snail while holding up the cafeteria line.  Very creative!  Read this book to school age children for the smooth storytelling and great illustrations.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

BILLY BLOO IS STUCK IN GOO by Jennifer Hamburg.  Illus. by Ross Burach.  New York: Scholastic Press, 2017. 32p. ISBN 978-054588015-2 hc. $16.99     Gr. K-2     E PIC

Science kids will love the big blob of green goo that Billy is stuck in.  It makes a presence on every other page as rescuers of every ability try to free Billy from the sticky mess.  A cowgirl gets stuck, along with an acrobatic troupe, a pirate, a magician, and more.  This cumulative story summarizes everyone who's stuck after each failed attempt at rescue.  Hamburg creates perfectly metered rhyming text that is predictable enough for youngsters to fully participate in the story.  Combined with Burach's lively cartoon illustrations and realistic green goo, the pages will come to life for young readers.  Enjoy the fun!
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

PUSH! DIG! SCOOP!: A Construction Counting Rhyme by Rhonda Gowler Greene. Illus. by Daniel Kirk. New York: Bloomsbury, 2016. 32p. ISBN 978-080273506-5 hc. $16.99   E PIC   PreS-K

In the tradition of  "Over in the Meadow," Greene adapts this counting rhyme to machinery on a construction site.  From one bulldozer to ten steamrollers, readers follow the digging, dumping, lifting, and general construction of a school building, complete with paved parking lot.  Greene animates the machinery with descriptive text, while Kirk adds graphic illustrations to give each machine its own personality.  Over the years, many authors have devised creative ways to use the rhythm and rhyme of "Over in the Meadow," including another Michigan author, Boni Ashburn, who wrote "Over at the Castle" featuring medieval characters and a dragon. Read them both and any other adaptations you can find.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

WHAT IS CHASING DUCK? by Jan Thomas.  ISBN 978-0-54493907-3  hc. $9.99
THERE'S A PEST IN THE GARDEN! by Jan Thomas. ISBN 978-054494165-6 hc. $9.99
New York:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing, 2017.  48p.  E READER   Gr. K-2

Illustrator, Jan Thomas, has launched a new series of easy readers featuring four friendly farm animals:  Dog, Donkey, Sheep, and Duck.  The four friends join in each other's adventures as they exaggerate the urgency of everyday situations, always supporting each member of their group.  Both of these books have surprise endings.  The vocabulary is simple, but refreshingly grammatical.  The conversation is captured in speech bubbles, paired with bright, expressive illustrations.  These stories remind me of the "Click, Clack, Moo" books by Doreen Cronin mixed in with "Scaredy Squirrel" books by Melanie Watt.  The next two titles, "My Friends Make Me Happy!" and "My Toothbrush Is Missing" will be available soon.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI  49855

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

UNDEFEATED: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team by Steve Sheinkin.  New York:  Roaring Book Press, 2017.

Jim Thorpe's story actually begins with his introduction to head coach, Pop Warner, at a football tryout at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania.  Backgrounds on both men reveal their shared drive to be the best and their love of football.  Thorpe, along with many other Native Americans, was sent to the Carlisle school to adapt to the food, language, clothing and work habits of white people.  Warner, hailing from a ranching family, studied law at Cornell University and played varsity football there before coaching at Carlisle.  Once the two men were on the same team as player and coach, the Carlisle Indian School football team became victorious and famous, despite blatant discrimination against Native Americans.  Jim was a super athlete, participating in other sports and the 1912 Olympics.  His name is recognized to this very day.  One hundred years after his coaching career, "Pop Warner" football leagues are found around the country for children who want to learn the sport.  The book has 280 pages of solid information, 45 of which are Source Notes, Works Cited, and an Index.  Sheinkin documents this very readable story with a generous number of photographs in each chapter, living up to his reputation as National Book Award Finalist.
 Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

CITY OF SAINTS & THIEVES by Natalie C. Anderson.  New York:  G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2017  401p.  ISBN: 978-039954758-4 hc. $18.99    Gr. 9-12    YA FIC

Rolling several stories in one, Anderson takes readers on an underworld adventure in Sangui, Kenya, where a gang of thieves, called Goondas, live in a society of secrets and criminal activity.  Tina has been part of the Goondas for the past five years, ever since her mother was murdered in the house where she worked as a maid.  Known as "Tiny Girl" to her associates, she excels as a thief and keeps her personal life to herself - to protect her younger sister, Kiki, who lives as a convent school nearby.  The suspense begins when Tina is caught stealing from the family her mother used to work for - in the very room where her mother was murdered.  To further complicate things, her captor is Michael Greyhill, the family heir and her childhood friend, who has grown into a very handsome young man.  He's not falling for her scams, but can be convinced to help Tina solve the mystery of her mother's death.  The pair find out more than they want to know, as readers turn page after page to keep up with them.  There's a guide to Swahili vocabulary in the back, so you won't miss a beat!
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

THE ROOSTER WHO WOULD NOT BE QUIET! by Carmen Agra Deedy. Illus. by Eugene Yelchin.  New York:  Scholastic Press, 2017.  48p.  ISBN 978--54572288-9 hc. $17.99      Gr. K-3     E PIC

Written like a folktale, the story begins in a small village that was so noisy it was overwhelming.  No one could concentrate on their work during the day or sleep at night.  The residents fired the mayor and hired a new one who outlawed singing or noise of any kind.  Most people complied, but one day a little rooster began to crow.  The mayor tried various punishments for the rooster, but the rooster kept crowing.  When the mayor threatened to make the rooster into soup, the village decided to stand up to the oppresive mayor and sing songs of their own - the ones they had silenced years ago.  The little rooster's voice inspired the residents to let everyone's voices be heard.  The lines between good and evil are further illustrated through Yelchin's mixed media drawings of the righteous rooster's awesome plumage and the menacing body language and greenish complexion of the mayor.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Thursday, June 22, 2017

APEX PREDATORS: The World's Deadliest Hunters, Past and Present by Steve Jenkins. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017.  32p.  ISBN 978-054467160-7 hc. $17.99    Gr. 1-4    J591.5

What does it take to be the top (apex) predator?  What kind of body parts act as weapons to kill and eat other animals?  This book answers these and other questions about the food chain - past and present.  Jenkins dedicates a page each to information about  modern-day predators such as the shark, electric eel, and Siberian tiger, leaving plenty of extra pages for extinct predators, including dinosaurs and sea creatures that are larger than life.  Readers are treated to scale drawings of each animal in relation to a 6-foot man.  The comparison is awesome and a bit frightening.  Jenkins' characteristic  cut paper collage illustrations give readers a good idea of each animal's appearance.  This is non-fiction at it's best.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI  49855

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

TUMBLE & BLUE by Cassie Beasley.  New York: Dial Books for Young Readers, 2017.  390p.  ISBN 978-0525428442 ARC   Gr. 4-6   JUV FIC

Blue Montgomery, cursed to lose any competition, has recently been dumped on Granny Eve's doorstep by his father, a race car driver who wins every race.  Blue just wants to go home.  He doesn't even have a room at his grandmother's house because she's already the primary caretaker for three of his cousins, who have family curses of their own.  The Montgomery family curse centers around a golden alligator named Munch who appears in the Okefenokee Swamp during the bloodred moon to grant the power of greatness to anyone brave enough to make the journey.  Walcott Montgomery and Almira Lafayette fought over the fortune many years ago, leaving half their families cursed and half lucky.  As the bloodred moon approaches, all kinds of Montgomerys gather at Granny Eve's house to vie for a chance to change their fortunes.  Meanwhile, there's a new neighbor with a hero complex whose reckless behavior always gets her into trouble.  Her name is Tumble, and it seems that her mother, unaware of the curse, is a Lafayette.  Readers will turn page after page to find out if two new friends can put an end to an old family feud.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

ROUND by Joyce Sidman. Illus. by Taeeun Yoo.  New York:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017.  32p.  ISBN 978-054438761-4 nd. $17.99     PreS - Grade 2    E PIC

Sidman celebrates everything round in nature with a poem that flows throughout the book.  The descriptive language helps readers visualize the roundness of raindrops, rocks, and bubbles in their own experiences, in addition to the uncomplicated illustrations in the book. Read past the poem's end to find out why round shapes are sustainable and often found in nature. 
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

STACK THE CATS by Susie Ghahremani.  New York: Abrams Appleseed, 2017.  32p.  ISBN 978-1419723490 hc. $14.99     Gr. K-2    E PIC

This clever counting book uses cute, stylized cats with big eyes to make the point that some items cannot be stacked without consequence.  Readers who use their prior experience with pets, the laws of physics, and mathematic concepts can solve the problem of how to count cats by dividing them into groups to reach the magic number of 10.  Just as real cats would move around the room, the groups in the book move around into new combinations as they are subtracted from 10.  Teachers may want to combine this book with classroom manipulatives for math lessons that will be fun and memorable.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI
ONE LAST WORD: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance by Nikki Grimes. New York:  Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2017. 120p.  ISBN 9781619 635548 hc.$18.99   Gr. 6-8   JNF 811.54

This book melds the words of renowned poets, such as Langston Hughes and Gwendolyn Bennett, with the original poetry of Nikki Grimes.  One follows the other like stepping stones through the book, reminding me of Natalie Cole recording music with the voice of her father, Nat King Cole, and coming up with lovely new songs.  Grimes employs the "golden shovel" technique for writing poems by choosing a line from a famous poem and using those very words in an original poem.  The new poem uses the same theme, but updates it's timeless emotion.  The book designer has bolded these key words for readers.  To top off this literary experience, readers will find single page, full color paintings by contemporary artists, such as E.B. Lewis and Brian Pinkney.   Grimes separates the book into three parts and includes a Resource section of poet and artist biographies at the end.  She also prefaces the poetry with history on the Harlem Renaissance to lay the way for a well-constructed afternoon of poetry.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

THE ART OF HOLDING ON AND LETTING GO by Kristin Bartley Lenz.  Ashford, CT:  Elephant Rock Books, 2016.  308p.  ISBN 978-09968649-16 pbk. $12.95    Gr.9-12    YA FIC

Cara's at the top of her game - a champion rock climber competing in events around the world with her parents, who are also climbers.  While competing in Ecuador, her parents and Uncle Max are caught in an avalanche, resulting in Uncle Max's disappearance and assumed death.  Cara's parents are grief-stricken and send her to live with her grandparents in the suburbs near Detroit.  She doesn't want to stay, as she's also grieving, and would rather have the emotional support of her parents.  Good fortune brings her to the lunch table of Kaitlyn and Nick, rather unusual characters who end up being good friends for Cara.  Her grandfather signs her up for driving lessons and takes her to the local climbing gym to keep her moving forward with life.  There's also a romantic interest named Tom and a series of mysterious notes that keep Cara engaged in the present.  As she finds out more about her grandparents, Cara begins to understand her parents better, and gains patience while she sorts out this new chapter of her life.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

WE ARE GROWING! by Laurie Keller. New York: Hyperion Books. Elephant an Piggie series. 2016. 56p.  ISBN 978-1484726358 lib.binding $9.99    PreS-Gr. 1    E Reader
Elephant and Piggie introduce beginning readers to several blades of grass - personified to interact just like a group of friends.  The group notices as each one has a growth spurt, and individually defines each blade by their new characteristics of curliest, tallest, crunchiest, silliest, and dandiest.  A lawn mower soon makes all the grass equal in height and without distinction, until someone reminds the group, "You will grow again!"  Elephant and Piggie decide they are the "read-i-est" and close the story with that clever bit of word play.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

SQUASH BOOM BEET: An Alphabet for Healthy, Adventurous Eaters by Lisa Maxbauer Price. Traverse City, MI: Blue Bay Books, 2016.  ISBN 978-0996853002    PreS-Gr.2    E PIC

This beautifully photographed alphabet book sets its sights on vegetables and a few herbs that you can grow in any Michigan garden.  The author traveled to farms around the Traverse City area to photograph some tasty and unusual produce.  There's an eye-catching full page spread for the letter "Ss" featuring squash in the forms of pattypan squash, summer squash, winter squash, and the colorful carnival squash.  Readers will find that the alphabet letters are used liberally to fit a variety of delicious and colorful vegetables. The rhyming text and spectacular produce pictures will make this book fun to read aloud, and may support a unit on plants, foods, or nutrition.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

SKYFISHING by Gideon Sterer. Illus. by Poly Bernatene.  New York: Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2017. 32p.  ISBN 9781419719110 hc. $17.95    Gr. K-2   E PIC

When Grandpa moves from his cabin on the lake to a third floor apartment in the city, the old fisherman finds himself with too much time on his hands.  He's been fishing his whole life long and knows everything about the sport.  At the suggestion of his granddaughter, the two began fishing from the balcony and catch all kinds of everyday items.  Capfish, litterfish, and photofish soon replace the common varieties found in the lake.  Their catches become bigger and bigger until they catch a troublefish and decide to put the fishing poles away until summer vacation.  The illustrations are vibrant and pique your imagination, as the streets below are transformed into waterways that turn traffic and city folk into a school of fish.  Great illustrations for big imaginations!
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

ARMSTRONG & CHARLIE by Steven B. Frank.  New York:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017.  298p. ISBN: 9780544826083 hc. $16.99     Gr. 5-9     J FIC

The boys meet when Armstrong's parents enroll him in Opportunity Busing to Charlie's school for a voluntary integration program.  Suspicions and conflicts during their sixth grade year eventually shift to understanding and friendship, not only with the boys, but with their families and friends.  Though set during turbulent times in the 1970's, the novel is very accessible to preteen readers.  The wording is such that it could very well be set in the present day.
Janet Edwards, Library Aide, Bothwell Middle School Library, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

PANDORA by Victoria Turnbull. Illus. by author. New York: Clarion Books, 2017. 32p. ISBN 978-0544-947337 hc. $16.99     Gr. K-3     E PIC
Pandora, a personified fox, lived alone in a house furnished with restored items she found in the trash heaps that surrounded her house. One day a bird landed on the trash pile with a broken wing.  Pandora wasn't sure how to repair a living item, but she slowly nursed the bird back to health. After constructing a beautiful nest from twigs and flowers, the bird flew off into the sky, leaving Pandora alone once again.  Surrendering to overwhelming sadness, Pandora didn't notice the various plants growing from seeds in the bird nest, creating ground cover for the endless trash heaps around her house.  The new growth attracted living creatures - new friends in a new world for Pandora. Turnbull's watercolor illustrations are detailed and beautiful, enhancing the storytelling experience.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

MAE AND JUNE AND THE WONDER WHEEL by Charise Mericle Harper. Illus. by Ashley Spires.  New York: Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt, 2017. 120p.  ISBN 978-0-544-630635 hc. $15.99    Grades 1-3    J FIC

The first installment in this new chapter book series introduces readers to June and her family, which includes Sammy, a talking dog that only June can hear, older sister Isabella, and her supportive parents.  June's criteria for good friends is that they be "Fun! Friendly! Full of Adventure!"  Not everyone fits into that job description, until Mae and her family move in across the street.  Mae and June try to cultivate a friendship, amid challenges at school and with family, but end up ready to be best friends for a long time to come.  The large print, short chapters, and Spires' cartoon-like illustrations throughout the book make pleasant reading for early elementary students. Harper also wrote the JUST GRACE series for a similar audience of young readers.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

MEMOIRS OF A PARROT by Devin Scillian. Illus. by Tim Bowers.  Ann Arbor, MI: Sleeping Bear Press, 2016.  32p.  ISBN 978-1-58536962-1 hc. $16.99     Gr. K-3     E PIC
Day One - Brock reveals the inner thoughts of a parrot living in Wilbur's Pet Shop.  This opinionated parrot prefers the company of the other animals in the shop to the strange people who try to coax a few words from him.  Six days later, he's been sold to Todd, a ukulele playing young man who names him "Echo" and attempts to teach him to talk.  Readers catch on that the parrot already knows how to talk and has an abundance of sarcastic wit.  On the positive side, Todd is generous with crackers for his parrot who promptly drops them into the toaster for a crispy treat.  Todd and "Echo" don't hit it off at first, until a cracker starts to burn inside the toaster, creating clouds of smoke. Quick action on the parts of Todd and his beloved pet save the day and ignite the flame of mutual respect.   Tim Bowers' large colorful illustrations add another dimension to the story, especially the distinct facial expressions of animals and humans alike.  This is the fourth in a series of books by Scillian and Bowers - "Memoirs of a Goldfish" (2010), "Memoirs of a Hamster" (2013), and "Memoirs of an Elf" (2014).
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

MIDNIGHT WITHOUT A MOON by Linda Williams Jackson. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017. 308p. ISBN 978 0544 785106 hc.$16.99   Gr. 5-8    JUV FIC

Rose Lee Carter works around the house and in the fields of her grandparents who are sharecroppers on a Mississippi cotton plantation.  She knows her place in the world is at the bottom rung of every ladder that life has to offer.  Her mother deserted her for a new husband and his children.  Her grandmother, Ma Pearl, favors her light-skinned cousin over her and expects Rose to work hard enough for both of them.  She has an escape at school, where she's an exceptional student, until Ma Pearl threatens to put an end to that also.  On the bright side, Rose has a friend in the preacher's son, Hallelujah, who keeps her apprised of civil rights violations by white families in the state and the activists who are trying to let colored men vote without being killed for their efforts.  There's a lot of history woven into this story of family and community relationships in the deep south of 1955, including the infamous trial and acquittal of the men who killed Emmett Till for allegedly whistling at a white woman.  Rose uncovers some family secrets toward the end of the story and finds the courage to shape her own future.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

WHERE ARE YOU GOING, BABY LINCOLN by Kate DiCamillo. Candlewick Press, 2016. 112p. ISBN 9780763673116 hb. $14.99    Gr. 2-3   JUV FIC

When Lucille Lincoln, a.k.a. Baby, begins to feel confined by her life, she takes a "necessary journey" to seek something different.  Her life is run by her older sister, Eugenia, who makes lists of goals for each day, doesn't smile, and never reads the comics page of the newspaper because silliness is a waste of time.  Don't be fooled by Baby's name.  The book's cover gives a hint that Baby is really quite mature.  Baby's adventure begins on the train as she meets several people along the way.  She soon finds out that there's a wider range of acceptable behavior than that allowed by her sister, and gains confidence in her own talents, all through the power of conversation.  When Baby reaches the end of her train ride, she feels apprehensive and alone, until she spots none other than Eugenia on the platform waiting to take her back home.  Baby's life improved after her "necessary journey" because she added her own preferences to those of her sister's, making allowances for both personalities.  The message of this gentle story is that it's never too late to make positive changes in your life.  This is the third book in the Tales from Deckawoo Drive series.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI 49855

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

ROBINS! How They Grow Up by Eileen Christelow. New York: Clarion Books, 2017. 48p.  ISBN 9780544442894 hc. $16.99    Gr. 1-3    E PIC

Find out everything about Michigan's state bird, the robin, in just 48 fact-filled pages.  Christelow tells readers the habits and instincts of this beloved bird whose appearance signals the first sign of spring.  Who knew that their annoying habit of building nests under the porch roof was intentional to shelter their early spring babies before the trees have leaves? The realistic illustrations are set in blocks to simulate action on the page, making the story quite exciting when danger is near.  Two of the original robins from the story add their conversational comments in speech bubbles at the bottom of the page.  In addition to the factual information within the story, there's a glossary in the back and a list of more information about robins.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

THE SEVENTH WISH by Kate Messner.  New York: Bloomsbury, 2016. 228p. ISBN 978-1619-633766 hc. $16.99    Gr. 6-8   JUV FIC

Winter has arrived on the tails of the new year, as Charlie, along with several of her friends, gets ready for the upcoming feis, the competition for Irish dancers. Charlie loves everything about dancing, the unity of the dancers, the rhythm of the hard shoes on the floor, and the beautifully extravagant costumes.  The only thing she doesn't like is the cost of the those costumes.  This year she's decided to supplement her budget by ice-fishing with her neighbor and selling her catch to the local store.  One of her first catches is a small fish with green eyes that says, "Release me and I will grant you a wish."  Charlie catches the same fish, each time honing the wording of her wishes, as they seem to be granted with unexpected outcomes.  Soon Charlie's everyday problems are overshadowed by her sister Abby's heroin overdose while at college.  The whole family turns its focus to Abby's recovery, compromising Charlie's dancing dreams.  Could one last wish bring her family back to normal?  This is very serious content for a juvenile book, but Messner builds a compassionate story around the topic of addiction and drug abuse.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

GIRL IN PIECES by Kathleen Glasgow.  Delacorte Books, 2016,  416p.ISBN 978-1101934715 hc. $18.99   Gr. 9-12    YA FIC

17-year-old Charlie wakes up in a treatment facility wrapped in bandages - so traumatized, she can’t speak to anyone.  Readers soon find out that when she was young, Charlie’s father experienced depression and drowned himself; her mother beats her; her best friend overdosed and was moved to a recovery facility across the country; and she’s been living on the streets of Minneapolis with addicts and criminals.  Unable to cope with emotions she doesn’t know how to express, Charlie cuts her arms, legs, and stomach.  After a rocky start, Charlie follows a friend to Arizona, finds work at a café, and returns to drawing portraits of people as she observes them.  Just when her life is becoming stable, she falls in love with a junkie musician who inevitably drags her back down into emotional chaos. Charlie finally gets assistance from a co-worker recovering from drug addiction and from an artist who recognizes her talent.  This story has several recovery stories going at the same time – drugs, alcohol, self-harm – whose victims take each day as it comes and count each one a victory.  
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

LEARNING TO SWEAR IN AMERICA. Katie Kennedy. New York: Bloomsbury, 2016.  345p.  ISBN 978-161963909-6 hc. $17.99    Gr. 9-12    YA FIC

Yuri Strelnikov, a doctor of physics at age 17, is flown to Los Angeles, CA at a moment's notice to work with American scientists scrambling to prevent a huge asteroid from reaching Earth.  He's on loan from Russia where his work on antimatter is putting him in line for a Nobel Peace Prize.  In light of his own bright future, Yuri has good reason to save the world.  However, he finds himself closely supervised and isolated as he is shuttled from the laboratory to the hotel and back again.  There's tension between Yuri and NASA's Director of Near Earth Objects Program about the safest way to deflect the asteroid.  Yuri is young, but he knows physics better than almost anyone.  By chance, Yuri meets Dovie, the janitor's daughter, who helps him sneak away from his hotel and experience a bit of American life.  She introduces Yuri to her brother, Lennon, who is wheelchair-bound and has an edgy sense of humor.  The suspense never ends; only continues on from one predicament to the next until the final escape scene on the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit.  The uncrushable attitudes of Yuri, Dovie, and Lennon leave readers with hope for the future and, perhaps, future stories about these characters.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

WHEN THE SEA TURNED TO SILVER by Grace Lin.  New York: Little, Brown Books, 2016.  384p.  ISBN 978-0316125925 hc. $18.99    Gr.4-6    JUV

Following in the adventures of Newbery Honor book WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON (2009) and STARRY RIVER OF THE SKY (2014), this original Chinese folktale is the third book in Grace Lin’s trilogy.  The book opens with young Pinmei gathering bits of wisdom from her grandmother, the local storyteller.  When her grandmother is taken away by soldiers of the unscrupulous Tiger emperor, Pinmei embarks on a quest to get her back.  Pinmei and her magical friend Yishan seek the Luminous Stone That Lights the Night to trade for her grandmother.  Along the way, the courageous pair find people who transform into mystical creatures who both help and hinder their mission. Ultimately, it’s the power of storytelling that saves the day.  Lin’s illustrations are interspersed throughout the book, adding visual interest and helping readers to keep track of the many characters in this amazing adventure.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

GERTIE'S LEAP TO GREATNESS by Kate Beasley.  Illus. by Jillian Tamaki.  New York: Ferrar, Straus, Giroux, 2016.  ISBN 978-137430261 hc. $16.99      Gr. 3-5   JUV

Gertie is on a mission, as usual, and this time it involves being the best fifth-grader in the class to show her absentee mom how wonderful she is.  Her mom lives three miles away on the other side of town, while Gertie lives with her dad and Aunt Rae.  It can result in occasional awkward situations, but Gertie has her best friends Jean, the smartest kid in fifth grade, and Junior Jr., the quietest kid in fifth grade, to help her out.  Her mission is waylaid when Mary Sue Spivey, perfect in every way, moves in from California to re-focus attention on herself as the best at everything.  When Mary Sue initiates a campaign against the oil rigs where Gertie's dad works, she declares war.  Gertie's attempts to be the best often fail, resulting in hilarious and heartbreaking adventures.  She finally begins to appreciate the awesome people who care deeply about her when she looks at things from her friends' points of view.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

THE SUMMER NICK TAUGHT HIS CATS TO READ by Curtis Manley.  Illus. by Kate Berube.  New York: Simon & Schuster Books, 2016.  32p.  ISBN 978-1481-435697 hc. $17.99    PreS - Gr. 2     E PIC

Nick and his cats, with the literary names of Verne and Stevenson, were inseparable over the summer.  They played games together, took naps, and worked on projects.  The one thing they couldn't do together was to read.  Nick liked reading, but the cats preferred other activities; so Nick tried to teach them to read.  He made a breakthrough with Verne, but Stevenson was not cooperative.  With persistence on Nick's part, he finally discovered that Stevenson liked adventure books and going on his own adventures.  Nick's quest to work on reading with his cats reminds readers of the everyday struggles many parents have with their children... and teachers with their students.  Finding just the right book for each student is a challenge and takes considerable effort.  This story is made even better by the watercolor illustrations featuring "Charlie Brown" faces that are always askew, but relay the perfect expression for each situation.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI